Romney spokesman blasts British paper’s ‘false quote’ about ‘Anglo-Saxon heritage’

Mitt Romney's campaign forcefully repudiated a quotation, ascribed to one of his foreign policy advisers and published by a leading British newspaper, suggesting that President Barack Obama does not understand America's "Anglo-Saxon heritage."

Spokesman Ryan Williams angrily denounced the comment on Wednesday as "an anonymous and false quote from a foreign newspaper." And Williams assailed Vice President Joe Biden for using the news report to accuse the Republican standard-bearer of playing politics with foreign policy while on an overseas tour.

"Today, the race for the highest office in our land was diminished to a sad level when the Vice President of the United States used an anonymous and false quote from a foreign newspaper to prop up their flailing campaign," Williams said in a statement emailed to reporters. The spokesman charged that Biden—who did not cite the specific quotation—had "advanced a falsehood" and accused him of trying "to divert voters' attention with specious shiny objects."

"We have more faith in American voters, and know they will see this latest desperate ploy for what it is," Williams predicted.

Here is how the Daily Telegraph characterized the unnamed Romney adviser's comments—which might suggest why the Republican's campaign is so aggressively hitting back:

In remarks that may prompt accusations of racial insensitivity, one suggested that Mr Romney was better placed to understand the depth of ties between the two countries than Mr Obama, whose father was from Africa.

"We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special," the adviser said of Mr Romney, adding: "The White House didn't fully appreciate the shared history we have".

As written, the quote didn't actually link Obama's handling of U.S.-Britain relations to his personal background in any way. But the last thing Romney needed was for a controversy to cloud his overseas trip, which will take him to Britain, Israel and Poland.